Education: Gone Respectable

When existentialism first became the rage in Paris, she was a slinky creature with a dubious reputation. She came from a good enough family (one grandfather was Danish Philosopher Sören Kierkegaard, as respectable as he was gloomy), but the lady's morals were, to say the least, confused. But that never stopped anyone from making a hit in Paris.

The sidewalk existentialists said that, since nothing really mattered very much, everything mattered. Since life was too utterly futile, everybody ought to live it to the hilt. "It is absurd for us to be born," proclaimed existentialism's protector, Jean-Paul Sartre. "It is...

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